Plastic Sociopaths

Straws are a distraction: how the plastics industry successfully got you to blame yourself for pollution https://boingboing.net/2019/10/03/recycling-isnt-enough.html

“40 years of Reaganomic sociopathy has managed to convince hundreds of millions of otherwise sensible people that big, social problems are caused by their personal choices, and not (say) by rapacious corporations that corrupt the regulatory process in order to get away with literal and figurative murder.”

Psychopaths and Modern Slavery

Four Corners has a story about slavery in our supply chain. Do Western manufacturers know (or care) about the practices of their supply chain? Should Western governments do something about it? According to Four Corners the Australian government recently passed something called The Modern Slavery Act 2018, which “requires businesses of a certain size to report their efforts to keep their supply chains slavery-free”. Unfortunately, the government “has the power to publicly name those that fail to comply, but not to fine or penalise them in other ways. It is hoped fear of shaming will be enough incentive to avoid the reputational, financial and other risks that might arise from public scrutiny.” The problem with shaming is that psychopaths (and, by extension, the companies they run), are pretty impervious to shame. All they care about is winning. They don’t give a shit what you think about them.

Why would the government not put throw-the-book-at-them penalties in place for slavery in the supply chain?

According to antislavery.org “an estimated 25 million people around the world are in forced labour” and it generates US$150 billion in profits for the private economy every year.

That’s Capitalism in action, folks.

No Illusions Podcast #59 – Benjamin Walker, Psychopathic Entrepreneurs

PhD student Benjamin Walker and Business Psychology professor Chris Jackson conducted three experiments using more than 600 people from the general population. They found that people with psychopathic traits can make great entrepreneurs because they are not afraid to fail or make bold and risky decisions.

My concern, though, is that although psychopaths might make great entrepreneurs, once they get wealth and power as a result of their entrepreneurial activities, they can end up doing more damage to society than good. But what do we do about it? How do we protect society from psychopaths?

 

Below is Benjamin’s recent three-minute pitch about the subject of his PhD.

psychopath hopkins

How To Embezzle $100 Million

Step 1. Start a financial services firm.

Step 2. Make sure you are the only person in the company who sees the bank statements.

Step 3. “Using a combination of Photo Shop, Excel, scanners and both laser and ink jet printers… make very convincing forgeries of nearly every document that came from the Bank.”

At least, that’s how Peregrine CEO Russell Wasendorf Sr. did it – for over 20 years.

He wrote a suicide note explaining the whole scam before attempting suicide. He failed at that and has now pleaded guilty to fraud and embezzlement.

What about the Regulators? Why didn’t they catch him?

“It was relatively simple to deceive the Regulators” according to Russ. Good to know.

He ended his suicide note with “I am ready to die. I guess this is the only way out of a business I hate so much.”

It’s a far cry from his most recent “Chairman’s Letter”, where he wrote

“At PFGBEST, our consistent hallmarks remain: respectful and conscientious care of customers and their accounts; a keen sense of their evolving needs; and, the talent and resources to provide analytical, flexible and customized solutions.”

Guys like Wasendorf are fascinating to me. How high would he score on a test for psychopathy? Surely he would score highly on many of those factors.

You have to wonder how many CEOs, politicians and entrepreneurs are psychopaths? And what is it about capitalism that allows them to prosper?

Of course, the history of socialism and communism has it’s fair share of psychopaths as well. Why is it so hard for us to design a socio-economic system that weeds out psychopaths?